Do you remember the childhood joy of flying a kite? Did you know, that as it soared with the wind, you were part of kite-flying traditions stretching back centuries?
This Matariki Festival, discover the ancient meaning of kites in Māori culture.
The Māori kite – manu tukutuku or manu aute, with manu translating as kite or bird – was central to Māori life as it symbolised the connection between heaven and earth.
Reconnect with this tradition, with three free Manu Aute Kite Day events in Manurewa, Puketāpapa and Ōrākei, happening in Tāmaki Makaurau as part of Matariki Festival on Saturday 29 June.
“We believe when our ancestors pass away they become stars. Kites are a way to send messages to those who have entered into the star realm,” says Festival Director Ataahua Papa of Auckland Council.
“Our connection to the stars is a key focus in this year’s Matariki Festival and that’s reflected with our annual kite days – it’s a chance for people to put down their thoughts and send them to the sky.”
For hundreds of years, Māori used kites to send messages to those in the upper realms, asking for tohu (signs) and guidance - whether to enter battle, to gain divination of the future and to send messages of aroha to loved ones.
On earth, they were tools to communicate with far-off whānau and signal between settlements – there are even stories of people releasing kites and claiming the place where they landed. Much like today, kites were also symbols of celebration and joy, used in kite flying competitions, to play with tamariki and herald the new year.
Māori kite making and flying decreased with the arrival of European settlers in the mid-1800s, and now only seven of the 17 known types of Māori kite have survived. However, interest surged again in the 1970s, with the revival of kite making and kite flying festivals.
This year’s Manu Aute Kite Day is supported by Vector Lights and The Hits, and Puketāpapa Local Board.
Come together with the whole whanau and watch the spectacle of kites of all shapes and sizes filling the skies, connecting heaven and earth at Manu Aute Kite Day.
When: Sat 29 June
- 10am-4pm; Takaparawhau Reserve/Michael Joseph Savage Memorial Park, 19 Hapimana St, Ōrākei
- 11am-4pm; Pukewīwī, 1129 Dominion Rd, Puketāpapa/Mt Roskill
- 12pm-4pm; Manu Tukutuku/Randwick Park, 32 Riverton Dr, Manurewa
Suitable for: All ages